Are you willing to make a cut?

This article is written purely on opinion and observation.  There was no research done for this article.  It is just my own opinion on this subject.

If you consider this column the equivalent of my super-hero persona, then my alter-ego is my regular life.  My mild-mannered regular life isn’t exciting like Bruce Wayne’s playboy life, or Clark Kent’s reporter job, I work as a parts manager at an equipment dealership.

This past winter was very slow in my industry.  The lack of snow made it very quiet in our shop.  We didn’t have many tractors or equipment come in to be repaired.  We went through 3 months of quiet business time.  With the warm weather returning, I’ve had my suppliers show up on my door step with this year’s pre-season booking programs and specials.

I’ve had lots of opportunities to talk to my suppliers and customers, who are also repair shops and farmers.  It was the same everywhere.  It was a quiet winter, and customers weren’t coming in to spend their money.  The customers didn’t have to come in because the lack of snow meant they didn’t break their equipment.  Also the customers didn’t want to spend any money because of the uncertainty of Canada’s financial future.

A lot of my customers and vendors are scared that the recession we are in now is going to get worse, and Canada may suffer a complete financial collapse.

Since there could be a chance that this may happen, it will affect everybody.  Jobs will be lost.  Financial institutions will suffer as well.  People will not have as much disposable capital to spend on stuff like comic books, action figures and video games.

Since comic books are not a necessity of life (well… to some people), it could be one of the first items that are cut from your budget.

So the question is, are you willing to cut comic books from your weekly expenses?

For me personally, this would be a very tough decision. Looking at it objectively, the answer would be yes if I was dealing with absolutes. For example, if the situation arose where I had to choose between groceries for my family, or the new issue of G.I. Joe, there is no doubt that groceries for my family would come first.

But if I look at things hypothetically (which this whole article is a hypothetical premise) then I wouldn’t cut comics totally out of my life, I would have to choose what I want to buy. It would be a tough descision, because I love comic books, but when times get tough you need to make a cut. The challenge would then become, which comic books would I stick with, and which ones I would drop.

Fortunately at this time I don’t have to make that decision, but you never know what will happen.

If people have to make the tough decision of dropping their favourite comic books, they may resort to “shady” means to get their comic books, like downloading them on the internet.  This will be bad for the comic industry all around.  The publishers, retailers, writers and artists will all suffer.  In turn the books will suffer and smaller books will be cancelled, and the publishers will have to use gimmicks to help sell their comic books.

Not every comic book collector will have to go through this.  It’s funny; some businesses suffer at different times than others.  Some sectors make money, while some are in decline.  For myself, it is in the back of my mind that I need to prepare to cut comic books from my weekly expense, if for some reason I can’t afford them any more.  It isn’t something I want to do, but being prepared is the best thing to do.  Because “knowing is half the battle”… sorry I couldn’t resist.

Ed Campbell
Ed Campbell

Ed Campbell is a collector of comics and action figures, primarily G.I. Joe. He is also a Cosplayer with Thor and Captain America as just a few of the characters in his arsenal. When not fulfilling his Comic Book Daily duties, he's "working for a living", volunteering his time for his local Fall Fair, and spending as much time with his family as possible. Use the links below to get in contact with him.

Articles: 256
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
12 years ago

Global economy…, when a business leader like the US takes a hit, it affects all of us. On top of that, the Euro crisis has put the kaibosh on any near term recovery. They may have bailed out Greece but all they’ve really done was consolidate their debt. They still owe the cash… but just to different people. Many analysts feel that it’s just a matter of time before Greece defaults…

But wait, there’s more… Technology has changed the game. I’m sympathetic to retailers like Walter but, believe it or not, we’re actually in the same boat. My design work has been largely automated by computers and fast talking sales people are now running the show. Businesses are using less illustration, photographers have been devalued by digital and ad agencies are still clinging TV as if it still mattered (can you believe I haven’t watch TV in over 10 years?).

I’m been a designer for over 20 years and salaries have leveled off while inflation has increased the cost of living. Jobs and contracts are more scarce… and now that I’m in my forties and less tech savvy than new graduates… this makes me less marketable. The fact that Scott can assemble this site based on templates pretty much sums up the ongoing trends in my biz.

So the question is, are you willing to cut comic books from your weekly expenses?

My friend… I already have. The reality is… you can pick up large runs of books dirt cheap on eBay or wait for the blow out sales. The only books I buy on Wednesdays are titles which I feel may be difficult to find later on. Still, I get excited by the glossy new books so in order to curb my temptation… I keep a list of “must haves” and I visit the local store only once a month. I’m also riding the bus now, which I actually enjoy. I’ve been able to read more books in the last few months than I have the entire 2 previous years.

You know what gets me… statistically, people who live in Toronto are:

• The affluent (ie; the 1%)
• People who’s homes have been handed down from previous generations
• But the majority are wealthy foreigners! (no surprise here, right?)

I’ve got nothing against foreigners… I’m an immigrant myself. But what does this say about the system when people who’ve paid taxes for over 40 years are being pushed out to places like New Market or Milton. The average house hold income is about $70k. Crunch the numbers and housing remains beyond the reach of the average Torontonian.

Why? Again, I think it’s the baby boomers. Birth rate has been on the decline for decades. So where is the government gonna get all that cash to pay out pensions? They have no choice but to open the doors, increase population in order to have more tax payers. But will it be enough…? Who the heck knows. Baby boomers are responsible for the “boom” in the modern world. More demand for “stuff” means more manufacturing, more goods, more jobs… everyone is happy. Once they’re gone… my kids and you’re kids will be left to figure out what happens next. It may not necessarily be bad… but uncertainty causes fear in people.

“Hypothetically” speaking Ed, if you’re feeling bummed out about the mild winter we’ve just had… and if things do seem uncertain… I’d like to recommend a book called, Who Stole My Cheese. It’s a short book and an easy read but the message is powerful. Ever since I read this book many years ago, I try to live by it… which is no small feat for someone like me.

“It get’s better” doesn’t just apply to the gay community. There is a logic to this phrase so I’m a firm believer. Hang in there cause all storms do eventually pass.